Land Rover's "Roam Free" video

Luxury brands produced an extraordinary range of videos that experimented with form and content with startling results in 2013.

Chanel broke traditional time constraints, Lexus reimagined the potential of Instagram, Prada teamed up with a legendary filmmaker, Fendi reconfigured its brand image and Land Rover delivered a breathtaking narrative. The best brands used the medium as the central axis of campaigns, understanding that video holds the power to captivate and convert consumers.

Here are the top 10 luxury brand social videos of 2013, in alphabetical order:

Dunhill's Man at Sea film

Alfred Dunhill’s Man at Sea – British menswear label Alfred Dunhill celebrated its masculinity and pushed aspirational qualities through a film in its Portraits of Achievement series that features British sailor and Olympic champion Lain Percy.

The four-minute film titled “Man at Sea” depicts Mr. Percy’s passion for sailing and Dunhill’s passion for masculine achievements. The film reinforces the brand’s masculinity and may help Dunhill build a stronger emotional connection to its audience.

The video begins with an overhead shot of a boat in the sea as Mr. Percy starts to tell his story.

The story continues as the film contrasts close-up shots of Mr. Percy working with his boat to overhead shots of the boat and the sea.

Mr. Percy continues to explain the frustration of not being able to predict the sea and that the sport of sailing comes down to luck.

The video ends on a more serious note when Mr. Percy says that although he has lost friends who were good sailors out at sea, he does not feel vulnerable when he is sailing.

Man at Sea

Keira Knightley as Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel

Chanel’s Once Upon a Time – Chanel’s bold move to create an 18-minute brand film for its 100th anniversary signals that the French label is not only an innovator in fashion, but is also looking to break the rules with its digital marketing.

The film called “Once Upon a Time” with actress Keira Knightley, the longtime ambassador for Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle fragrance, starts in 1913 when Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel has opened a namesake hat boutique on the Rue Gontaut-Biron in Deauville, France. The label’s creative director Karl Lagerfeld produced and directed the film to show how the brand’s founder revolutionized fashion by creating a new style concept for modern women.

Once Upon a Time starts as two women walk by Ms. Chanel’s hat shop and criticize the items in the window, saying the designer “has no taste” since the simple, lightweight pieces did not align with the fashion trends of the time.

After the opening credits, viewers watch as Ms. Chanel enters the scene with her Aunt Adrienne, played by Clotilde Hesme.

The duo unlock the hat shop for the first time. It opened thanks to financial support from her boyfriend of the time, Boy Capel, played by Jake Davis. However, the shop remains empty for most of the day. But Ms. Chanel’s hopes rise as a stylish woman finally walks in who turns out to be actress Jacqueline Forzane, played by Ashleigh Good.

During the film, more women discover Ms. Chanel’s hats including Lady de Grey, arts patron and friend of Oscar Wilde who is played by Stella Tennant; Russian dancer Ida Rubinstein played by Caroline de Maigret; writer Vita Sackville-West played by Saskia de Brauw; and actress Eve Lavalllière.

Soon women all around Deauville, France, are wearing Ms. Chanel’s designs.

Chanel and the diamond

Cartier's Paris Nouvelle Vague collection

Cartier’s Paris Nouvelle Vague video series - French jeweler Cartier sought to raise consumer emotions for its revamped Paris Nouvelle Vague collection through a series of short films that give a different sensation for each product.

The seven 60-second films each give an emotion and attitude to a ring in the French jeweler’s new collection.

All seven of the videos use the same song “I Love Paris,” which was originally written by Cole Porter.

Each video uses a version of the song with a different tempo to show the emotion associated with each piece.

The short films are available at http://www.cartier.us/collections/jewelry/collections/paris-nouvelle-vague.

Cartier's Parcours d'un Style collection

Cartier – French jeweler Cartier explored its high-jewelry collection through an immersive social video that takes enthusiasts on an animated adventure meant to symbolize the brand’s creative journey.

While viewing the video for “Odyssée de Cartier – Parcours d’un Style,” consumers traverse different elements of Cartier’s history and encounter many of its inspirations.

The video on Cartier’s Web site begins with a shot of an artist’s work table. All objects in the frame are a dull white or a shade of grey, except for the yellow used in the sketch of a necklace.

In the center of the work table, a sheet of paper suddenly spirals downward to reveal a tunnel. When through the tunnel, a small forest of white trees with gold leaves appears against a black sky.

L’Odyssée de Cartier – Parcours d’un style video

A still from Fendi's Bag Bug film

Fendi’s Bag Bugs - Italian fashion house Fendi promoted the release of its much anticipated “Bag Bugs” collection with a whimsical video featuring the furry purse accessories personified to appeal to a more entry-level audience for the holiday shopping season.

The Bag Bugs, which are peculiar monster-like creatures, lend themselves well to this film, which plays off of their personalities to show them endearingly and present them as both an amusement and a fashionable accessory. The film differs from most other luxury film in that it focuses on quirk rather than quality and craftsmanship, which is an appropriate strategy to target an entry level audience who might be able to afford a Bag Bug because of its lower price point than a Fendi handbag.

In the video, the camera pans through a series of different backdrops with successive Bag Bugs driving cars, steering a boat and kissing each other. On each frame, a woman’s hands pop out of the backdrop to portray the Bag Bugs’ limbs or other elements, including an octopus.

The Fendi Bag Bugs are here!

Hermès silver jewelry

Hermès’ The Sound of Hermès Silver - French leather goods and scarves maker Hermès captivated fans in a digital campaign with a symphonic video inspired by the brand’s new silver jewelry collection.

Although the brand has ventured into the digital arena before, ”The Sound of Hermès Silver” campaign is designed to reach a global audience. The campaign draws on the expertise of various artists to deliver an artful video that aligns with the brand’s commitment to innovation and craftsmanship.

United Visual Artists, a London-based art and design practice, created an installation to display the 16 pieces of jewelry on metallic turntables powered by cogs. Lasers scan the turntables and produce a sound.

The sound for each piece seeks to reflect its dimensions and was invented by the musician YoggyOne. Director Caswell Coggins shot and directed the artistic performance.

The video begins with alternately broad and close-up shots of the mysterious arrangement of turntables and cogs. Lasers move over the different jewelry pieces to elicit new sounds. As the lasers pick up speed, the sounds layer over one another creating a symphonic-like ambience.

The Sound of Hermès Silver

Land Rover's "Roam Free" video

Land Rover’s Roam Free – Land Rover North America correlated the movements of parkour athletes to the capabilities of its vehicles in a new video.

In “Roam Free,” four athletes practice parkour – a free-form training discipline – on various types of terrain. Unlike other videos from luxury automakers, Land Rover did not feature its vehicles at any point in the clip, but ended the spot with its logo and tagline.

The four parkour athletes shown in the 60-second video perform acts of balance, fitness and gymnastics on different types of terrain including a downhill forest slope and rock formations.

The video starts as the athletes run down a forest path. They soon begin to perform flips in the air and other parkour techniques as they go.

The film cuts quickly from one scene to the next. It is set to calm music composed by Johann Sebastian Bach.

At the end of the short video, the athletes come to a stop at the top of a rocky cliff and “Roam Free” appears on the screen.

Parkour Roam Free

2014 IS Sport Sedan

Lexus’ #LexusInstaFilm - Toyota Corp.’s Lexus promoted the 2014 IS vehicle with a collaboratively created, stop-motion Instagram film that draws on the perspectives of 212 fans to show the vehicle in a range of angles and tones.

Under the orchestration of a directorial team during Instagram’s #WorldwideInstameet, car enthusiasts and Instagram users from a variety of background blended their personalities in a film that colorfully animates the IS. By leveraging Instagram in this unifying fashion, Lexus will likely grab the attention of a younger demographic and potentially trigger more collaborative, stop-motion films.

Jacob Rosenberg and the Bandito Brothers directed the film that features the song “Hefe” by The Hit House. A 2014 Lexus IS F Sport weaved throughout the lot to permit a wide range of views and so the vehicle appeared in a natural setting.

Marks were drawn on the grounds to instruct people on where to stand and at what angle to take shots of the vehicle. Directors facilitated this process with 3-D mapping technology, however, participants could edit the shots however they wanted. The directorial team then printed out each still, clipped them to a huge board and sequenced them to create a coherent film.


"Prada Candy L'Eau" mini film

Prada’s Candy L’Eau film - Italian fashion house Prada engaged its digital audience with a short film that tells the story of a love triangle involving a character named after a fragrance.

The label pushed the desirability of its Candy L’Eau scent by naming the female protagonist after the fragrance.

The lead character Candy played by Léa Seydoux is a young woman in Paris who is being pursued by two men – Rodolphe Pauly as Julius and Peter Gadiot as Gene – who are best friends.

The film was directed by Wes Anderson and co-directed by Roman Coppola. The Directors Bureau Los Angeles produced the film, with Darius Kondjhi serving as director of photography.

The finished film combines three episodes that show the first time all three characters meet, how the men pursue Candy and her candid opinions of both men. A quick commercial for the new fragrance is shown at the end of each episode.

Prada Candy L’Eau

Prada Real Fantasies

Prada Real Fantasies fall/winter 2013 - Italian fashion house Prada’s use of an abstract theme in the fall/winter collection video is helping the brand stand out from other fashion marketers’ promotions this season.

The “Prada Real Fantasies fall/winter 2013” short film shows off Prada’s creative side and is likely to capture the attention of consumers with its fast-pace, abstract action sequences. Although the video is attention grabbing, it fails to highlight the collection as much as other videos have.

The 128-second video starts out with a woman changing the stations on her TV. She wears a dress from the fall/winter collection. She changes the TV through a number of different stations until she stops on one that shows another woman making a phone call.

Then, the screen cuts to a man in his room making a phone call. The phone rings and a woman in another location walks over to pick it up. In the background of this woman’s room is a picture of the man who called her.

Real Fantasies fall/winter 2013

Tod's Double Stripe collection

Tod’s Double Stripe – Italian leather goods maker Tod’s raised awareness of its customizable Double Stripe collection through a social video to push in-store sales.

The Double Stripe bags are a collection for men that can be customized at select Tod’s boutiques.

The 66-second video quickly goes through a number of color options for the Double Stripe bag.

In the video, the stripes on the bags are compared to stripes on other objects. It begins by showing a bag being sewn together on the double stripe area as jazz music plays.

Next, a title slide is shown with the words “Double Stripe” as the music immediately speeds up.

Then, Double Stripe bags are shown one after another with different colored stripes.

The bags are also depicted in different settings to show consumers how the items can fit into their everyday lives.

The fast-paced video cuts through a number of images and finally ends with the Tod’s logo.

Tod’s Double Stripe

Final take
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York 

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